The era of unprecedented rapid technological changes will require SMSF auditors to check that any new automated auditing software and systems meet regulatory compliance and auditing standards.
On the final day of the SMSF Association National Conference 2018 in Sydney today, ASF Auditors technical services executive general manager Shelley Banton told delegates: “Regardless of how quickly this technology is developing, the auditing standards and Superannuation Industry (Supervision) (SIS) legislation that underpins the audit process, at this stage at least, is not a perfect match.
“One of the reasons for that is that while we can automate the financial side of it at a fairly high level, the stringent checks in line with the SIS legislation will ensure we’re never going to get all those checks and balances done through technology, at this point in time anyway.”
Banton noted the ATO has said auditors solely relying on automated processes to do the audit rather than using their skills and judgment was an issue very much on its radar.
“One of the things we need to realise is that the ATO is now increasing its understanding of how automation is impacting the SMSF audit process,” she warned.
“So there’s no doubt automation will be a benefit to us, but there’s still that challenge to make sure we’re not missing the compliance side of the audit as we move along.
“Another issue we need to take into account is that continuous auditing technologies are being developed without any input from the regulators or the professional bodies, so we need to understand where the accountability is in terms of the compliance with these particular platforms and it may actually find some platforms operating unintentionally on the wrong side of the law.”
She said ultimately technological advances meant the SMSF audit had been redefined with processes more streamlined.
“So there is a point where we need to get the technology to meet the professional standards,” she said.
“We need to get on board and maintain our standards, which will ensure we will find our niche in our market and continue to thrive into the future.”